As part of its Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) to enhance safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Boeing has designed and developed an ultraviolet (UV) wand for aircraft interior sanitation. It has now entered into a patent and technology license with Healthe, which will manufacture the equipment.
“The UV wand is designed to be more effective than similar devices,” said Mike Delaney, who leads Boeing’s CTI efforts. “It quickly disinfects surfaces on an aircraft and further strengthens other layers of protection for passengers and crew. Boeing spent six months transforming an idea for the wand into a working model, and Healthe will now take that prototype and make it available to the world at large.”
Healthe will produce and distribute the commercial wand, to aid airlines and potentially others in their COVID-19 response. The technology could be available for airlines in late Autumn. The device is intended as an addition to sanitising and protective measures already in place, which Boeing noted include the use of high-efficiency particulate air filters that trap more than 99.9% of particulates and prevent them from re-circulating back to the cabin.
“We are proud to be assisting Boeing as they work with their partner airlines to enhance in-cabin aircraft sanitisation efforts,” said Abe Morris, executive chairman at Healthe. “This could also benefit schools, hospitals, offices, wherever pathogens go. As we ramp up deployment of our cutting-edge UVC and Far-UVC 222 light solutions across many sectors, this new commercial-grade wand will be another powerful tool in the sanitisation arsenal to protect passengers against the spread of harmful viruses.”
The UV wand uses 222 nanometer UVC light. Boeing said research indicates 222 nanometre UVC inactivates pathogens effectively. Using the self-contained apparatus, which resembles a carry-on suitcase, crews can pass UV light over high-touch surfaces, sanitising everywhere the light reaches. Boeing added the UV wand is particularly effective in compact spaces and sanitises a flight deck in less than 15 minutes.
As part of CTI, Boeing solicited feedback from multiple industry sources, which aided in quickly validating this technology. Etihad Airways was the first to evaluate the device, and the UV wand was demonstrated on the Etihad 787-10 ecoDemonstrator aircraft on 21 August 2020.